Greg Olear's Reviews > The Summer We Fell Apart

The Summer We Fell Apart by Robin Antalek
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Jan 17, 10

Recommended for: everyone
Read in January, 2010

Robin Antalek's soaring debut concerns the tribulations of the Haas family --- four grown children and their mother--- before, during, and after the death of the failed-playwright patriarch, who was as achingly absent in their childhoods as he is in the novel. The characters are so well drawn, their stories woven together so expertly, that it's hard to believe that this novel grew out of a collection of loosely-affiliated short stories. Also notable is her adroit and effective use of the simplest things ---lemon trees, leather jackets, scarves---as symbols.

In books of this kind---five characters, five stories, five points of view---there are usually one or two weak links in the chain. Not so here. You'll care about these characters---all of them---as deeply as if they were members of your own family (and perhaps more).

Oh, and don't let the prim and proper cover fool you---The Summer We Fell Apart has some racy passages, including the most uncomfortable ménage à trois scene in recent memory.
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